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Social Evolution & History, Vol. 6 No. 2, September 2007 pp. 75-121 en/ 

Production Revolutions and 
Periodization of History: 
A Comparative and Theoretic- 
mathematical Approach* 

Leonid E. Grinin 

Volgograd Center for Social Research 


There is no doubt that periodization is a rather effective method of 
data ordering and analysis, but it deals with exceptionally complex 
types of processual and temporal phenomena and thus it simplifies 
historical reality. Many scholars emphasize the great importance 
of periodization for the study of history. In fact, any periodization 
suffers from one-sidedness and certain deviations from reality. 
However, the number and significance of such deviations can be 
radically diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly 
connected with its author's understanding of the rules and peculi- 
arities of this methodological procedure. In this paper we would 
like to suggest a model of periodization of history based on our 
theory of historical process. We shall also demonstrate some pos- 
sibilities of mathematical modeling for the problems concerning 
the macroperiodization of the world historical process. This analy- 
sis identifies a number of cycles within this process and suggests its 
generally hyperexponential shape, which makes it possible to pro- 
pose a number of forecasts concerning the forthcoming decades. 

When we speak about some global general theories, like 
macroperiodization of the world historical process, any figures, cy- 
cles, diagrams and coefficients, of course, cannot prove too much 
by themselves. Especially, if the respective analysis includes an- 
cient periods for which all the figures are likely to be too much ap- 
proximate and unreliable. Thus, for general theories covering im- 

Social Evolution & History, Vol. 6 No. 2, September 2007 75-121 
© 2007 'Uchitel' Publishing House 

76 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

mense distances in time and space, the main proves are a good em- 
pirical basis, logics, internal consistency and productivity of theo- 
retical constructions; that is, a theory's ability to explain the facts 
better than other theories do. On the other hand, any theory is bet- 
ter when it is supported by more arguments. Mathematical proofs 
can be rather convincing (when they are relevant, of course). This 
is especially relevant with respect to those aspects that are more li- 
able to mathematical analysis, for example, those connected with 

In this article we have chosen such an aspect that is liable to 
mathematical analysis and quite suitable for it. This is the temporal 
aspect of history. Its suitability for mathematical analysis is con- 
nected with the following: though it is quite possible to speak 
about the tendency of historical time toward acceleration (and this 
is the subject of the present article), the astronomic time remains 
the same. Thus, within this study we have a sort of common de- 
nominator that helps to understand how the 'numerator' changes. 
Hence, we believe that for the analysis of the periodization of his- 
tory the application of mathematical methods is not only possible, 
but it is also rather productive. 

Many scholars emphasize the great importance of periodization 
for the study of history (e.g., Jaspers 1953; Green 1992, 1995; 
Gellner 1988; Bentley 1996; Stearns 1987; McNeill 1995; Man- 
ning 1996; Goudsblom 1996; White 1987; Diakonoff 1999; Ershov 
1984; Zhigunin 1984; Pavlenko 1997, 2002; Rozov 2001a, 2001b; 
Semenov 1999; Korotayev 2006). Gurevich emphasizes that 'the 
human thought cannot avoid dividing the historical process into 
definite periods' (2005: 681). There is no doubt that periodization is 
a rather effective method of data ordering and analysis, but it deals 
with exceptionally complex types of processual, developmental and 
temporal phenomena and thus, it simplifies historical reality. This 
might be the reason why some scholars belittle the role of periodiza- 
tion and some of them even directly oppose the notion of process 
and stages as mutually exclusive (see, e.g., Shanks and Tilley 1987; 
see also Marcus and Feinman 1998: 3; Shtompka 1996: 238). One 
may agree that the contraposition of process and stages is a false di- 
chotomy (Carneiro 2000) because stages are continuous episodes of 
a continuous process, and the notion of process can be used for the 
development of the notion of stages (Goudsblom 1996). 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 77 

In fact, any periodization suffers from one-sidedness and cer- 
tain deviations from reality, but as Jaspers noted, '...the purpose of 
such simplifications is to indicate the essentials' (1953: 24). More- 
over, the number and significance of such deviations can be radi- 
cally diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly 
connected with its author's understanding of the rules and peculi- 
arities of this methodological procedure (for more detail on these 
procedures see Grinin 1998b: 15-28; 2003a: 67-78; 2003b: 219- 
223; 2006a; 2006b; 2007a; see also Shofman 1984). Unfortunately, 
insufficient attention is paid to these issues (and periodization 
problems in general), which leads to serious problems. In particu- 
lar, to develop a periodization one needs to observe the rule of the 
'single basis', that is, to use the same criteria for the identification 
of periods with the same taxonomical significance, whereas many 
periodizations are not based on rigorous criteria, or the applied cri- 
teria are eclectic and change from one stage to another (e.g., Green 
1995), or the scholars just base themselves on the following 
scheme: Antiquity - Middle Ages - Modern Age (see Green 1992). 

The second point is how well the periodization bases are rea- 
soned, and how they are connected with a scholar's general theory, 
as well as with the goal of periodization. Different scholars choose 
different bases for periodization, ranging from changes in the types 
of ideas and thinking (e.g., Comte 1974 [1830-1842]; Jaspers 
1953) to ecological transformations (Goudsblom 1996) and inter- 
cultural interaction (Bentley 1996). Many scholars, ranging from 
the 18 th century thinkers (Turgot, Barnave, Ferguson, Smith) to 
modern postindustrialists like Bell (1973) and Toffler (1980), base 
themselves on economic and technological criteria. Two extremes 
can be observed depending on the choice of criteria. Too often, 
when scholars ascribe absolute meaning to the chosen factors, in 
Pitirim Sorokin's words (Sorokin 1992: 522), 'they turn out to be 
partially right, but one-sidedly wrong at the same time'. Some do not 
think at all about the connection between periodization and theory 
(on this issue see Stearns 1987; Bentley 1996), or periodization is 
used as a sort of 'headband' for the main theory (e.g., Toffler 1980). 

In this article we suggest a model of periodization of historical 
process based on our theory of historical process. The full concep- 
tual and methodological justification for this periodization can be 
found in our earlier publications (see Grinin 1998b, 2000, 2003a, 

78 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

2003b, 2006b, 2007a). Thus, here we shall concentrate on a brief 
description of the essence and chronology of periodization; we 
shall also demonstrate the possibilities of mathematical modeling 
of temporal processes and temporal cycles in historical develop- 
ment. It is important to state the following reservation: this perio- 
dization can only be applied to world historical process (further 
denoted as 'historical process') and to a considerable (but not to 
the full) degree to the evolution of World-System (interpreting it 
after the manner of Andre Gunder Frank [Frank 1990; 1993; Frank 
and Gills 1993; Korotayev, Grinin 2006]). Thus, the given periodi- 
zation refers only to macroevolutionary processes, and therefore 
can be directly applied to the histories of particular countries and 
societies only by means of special and rather complicated meth- 
odological procedures. Its task is to define a scale for measurement 
of processes of the development of humankind and to mark possi- 
bilities for intersocietal comparison. 

A few words are necessary in order to clarify our understand- 
ing of the 'historical process' notion (for more detail see Grinin 
2003a). The first point to be made is that this notion is in no way 
synonymous with 'world history' 1 . Of course, the notion of histori- 
cal process is based on world history facts, but firstly, there have 
been chosen only those facts that are the most important from the 
point of view of process and changes; secondly, this set of facts has 
been ordered and interpreted in accordance with the analyzed spa- 
tial and temporal scales, trends and logics of historical develop- 
ment of humankind as a whole, as well as the present-day results of 
this development. In other words, historical process is in no way a 
mechanical sum of the histories of numerous peoples and societies, 
it is not even just the process of temporal movement and develop- 
ment of these people and societies. The historical process is a 
growing and even cumulative process of societal integration that 
has a certain direction and result. The notion of the historical proc- 
ess of humankind does not imply that humankind has always been 
a real system. It implies the following: (a) that we select a respec- 
tive scale for our analysis; (b) that we take into account the fact 
that throughout all the periods of the historical process societies, 
civilizations and its other subjects have been developing unevenly, 
i.e. at a different rate of social progress. Among other things from 
the methodological point of view it indicates that for the analysis 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 79 

of historical process the most important role is played by the model 
of the influence produced by more developed regions on the less 
developed ones; (c) the interaction scale expands from one period 
to another until it reaches the scale of the whole planet; (d) hence, 
the historical process of humankind is, first of all, a process of 
movement from autonomous and isolated social minisystems to- 
wards the formation of the present extremely complex system of 
intensely interacting societies; (e) when (and if) humankind gets 
transformed into a subject whose development as a whole is deter- 
mined (at least partially) by a general and explicitly expressed col- 
lective will, the historical process in its current meaning will come 
to its end, and this will lead to a transition to a new generation of 

Thus, historical process is a notion that generalizes an intri- 
cate complex of internal transformations and actions of various 
historical subjects, as a result of which important societal changes 
and integration, continuous enlargement of intersocietal systems 
take place, transition to the new levels of development is going on, 
and in general (taking into consideration the present results and 
future perspectives), humankind gets transformed from a potential 
unity into an actual one. 

Of course, this definition of historical process is rather conven- 
tional; however, it has a considerable heuristic potential and makes 
it possible to construct generalizing theories. The critics of the no- 
tion 'world history process' rely on the idea that humankind is not 
a system that can be regarded as a real subject, that the history of 
humankind is the history of particular societies; thus, it is impossi- 
ble to speak about the historical process of humankind (see, e.g., 
Miljukov 1993 [1937] 43-47; Hotsej 2000: 488-489). In the mean- 
time it becomes more and more evident that the globalization proc- 
ess is making (and, in some respects, has already made) humankind 
a real subject. But if humankind is becoming a real supersystem 
and the process of this system's structuralization starts producing 
more and more tangible results, then why is it impossible to study 
the historical process of the humankind system formation? If it is 
possible to study the dynamics of world population as well as some 
other world characteristics and to develop theories and periodiza- 
tions on this basis (e.g., Kapitza 2004a; Korotayev, Malkov, and 
Khaltourina 2006a, 2006b), why is not it reasonable to speak about 

80 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

the historical process of the humankind as a whole? And, for ex- 
ample, McNeill (2001: 1) suggests that historians should 'make a 
sustained effort to enlarge the views and explore the career of hu- 
mankind on earth as a whole'. 

Quite often the notion of humankind is actually substituted 
with some other notions, like civilizations, starting from 
Danilevsky (Danilevskij 1995 [1869]), Spengler (1939), Toynbee 
(1962-1963), and ending with Huntington (Huntington 1994), or 
the World System (Frank 1990, 1993; Frank and Gills 1993; Koro- 
tayev, Malkov, and Khaltourina 2006a, 2006b). We believe that 
such notions can be of much use, but only at a certain level and in 
certain aspects of analysis. And, of course, they differ from the no- 
tion of humankind both temporally (as all the pre-agrarian epoch 
and the early agrarian period are left outside their limits) and spa- 
tially (if we do not try to make one notion a full synonym of the 
other). The attempts to substitute the notion of humankind with any 
other, less encompassing, notions are basically attempts to prohibit 
any research at a higher level of generalization; this is just a substi- 
tution of one level of research with another, narrower one 2 . 

According to the theory that we propose, the historical process 
can be subdivided more effectively into four major stages or four for- 
mations of historical process. The transition from any of these forma- 
tions into another is tantamount to the change of all the basic charac- 
teristics of the respective formation. However, in addition to this prin- 
ciple basis of periodization (that determines the number of singled out 
periods and their characteristics), we need an additional basis, by 
means of which the chronology may be worked out in detail 3 . 

As such an additional basis we have proposed the production 
principle (Grinin 1995-1996, 2000, 2003a, 2007a) that describes 
the major qualitative stages of the development of the world produc- 
tive forces 4 . We single out four production principles: 

1. Hunter-Gatherer. 

2. Craft-Agrarian. 

3. Industrial. 

4. Information-Scientific. 

Though the qualitative transformations in some spheres of life 
are closely connected with changes in the other (and, thus, no fac- 
tors can be considered as absolutely dominant), some spheres (with 
respect to their influence) can be considered as more significant; 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 81 

that is, changes within them are more likely to lead to the changes 
in the other spheres than the other way round 5 . The production 
principle belongs to such spheres due to the following reasons: 

1. Significant changes in the production basis lead to the pro- 
duction of more surplus and to the rapid growth of population. And 
both these processes lead to changes in all other spheres of life. 
Still the transition to new social relations, new religious forms etc. 
is not as directly connected with the demographic changes as are 
the transformations of the production principle. 

2. Though a significant surplus can appear as a result of some 
other causes (natural abundance, successful trade or war), such ex- 
ceptional conditions cannot be borrowed, whereas new productive 
forces can be borrowed and diffused, and thus, they appear in 
many societies. 

3. Production technologies are applied by the whole society 
(and what is especially important, by the lower social strata), 
whereas culture, politics, law, and even religion are systems devel- 
oped by their participants (usually the elites) 6 . 

The change in production principles is connected with produc- 
tion revolutions. The starting point of such revolutions can be re- 
garded as a convenient and natural point from which the chronol- 
ogy of formation change can be established. 

The production revolutions are the following: 1) the Agrarian 
Revolution (the 'Neolithic Revolution'); 2) the Industrial Revo- 
lution; 3) the Information-Scientific Revolution. The production 
revolutions as technological breakthroughs have been discussed for 
quite a long time. The Industrial Revolution became an object of 
extensive research already in the 19 th century 7 . The first ideas on 
the Neolithic (Agrarian) Revolution appeared in the works of 
Gordon Childe in the 1920s and 1930s, and the theory of this revo- 
lution was developed by him in the 1940s and 1950s (Childe 1948, 
1949, 1952). In connection with the Information-Scientific Revolu- 
tion which started in the 1950s the interest in the study of produc- 
tion revolutions significantly increased. However, the category 
'production revolution' has not been sufficiently worked out and 
its contents are determined in a predominantly intuitive way. A lot 
has been written about each of the three production revolutions 
(see, e.g.: Reed 1977; Harris and Hillman 1989; Cohen 1977; Rin- 
dos 1984; Smith 1976; Cowan and Watson 1992; Ingold 1980; 

82 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

Cauvin 2000; Knowles 1937; Dietz 1927; Henderson 1961; Phyllys 
1965; Cipolla 1976a; Stearns 1993, 1998; Lieberman 1972; Mokyr 
1985, 1993; More 2000; Bernal 1965; Philipson 1962; Benson and 
Lloyd 1983; Sylvester and Klotz 1983); however, there is a surpris- 
ingly small number of studies concerning these revolutions as re- 
current phenomena, each of which represents an extremely impor- 
tant landmark in the history of humankind (e.g., Vasil'ev 1977: 8; 
Cipolla 1976b: 7; Gellner 1983, 1988). What is more, most of these 
studies are fragmentary and superficial. On the other hand, we have 
developed a theory of production revolution (Grinin 1995-1996, 
2000, 2003a, 2006a, 2007a, 2007b) in the framework of the overall 
theory of a pan-human historical process. 

The production revolution can be defined as a radical turn in 
the world productive forces connected with the transition to the 
new principle of management not only in technologies but in the 
interrelations of society and nature. The distinction of the produc- 
tion revolution from various technical overturns is that it touches 
not only some separate essential branches but the economy on the 
whole. And finally, the new trends of management become domi- 
nant. Such an overturn involves in the economical circulation some 
fundamentally new renewable or long inexhaustible resources, and 
these resources must be widespread enough within most territories; 
it rises labor productivity/ or land carrying capacity (the yeild of 
useful product per unit of area) by orders of madnitude; this is also 
expressed in the creation of several orders greater volume of pro- 
duction and the demographic revolution. 

As a result, the most powerful impulse for qualitative reorgani- 
zation of the whole social structure is generated. Although the pro- 
duction revolution begins in one or a few places but as it signifies 
the turn of the world productive forces, it represents a long lasting 
process gradually involving more and more societies and territo- 
ries. As a result a) the societies where it took place become pro- 
gressive in a technological, economical, demographical, cultural 
and often military aspects; b) the break with new production sys- 
tem is an exception while joining it becomes a rule. 

Each production revolution has its own cycle. We can speak 
about two qualitative phases and a quantitative phase between them 
that can be regarded as a sort of interruption between the qualitative 
phases. Each phase of a production revolution represents a major 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 83 

breakthrough in production 8 . During the first phase the new 
production principle hotbeds are formed; those sectors that 
concentrate the principally new production elements grow in 
strength. Then the qualitatively new elements diffuse to more 
societies and territories. In those places where the most promising 
production version has got formed and adequate social conditions 
have appeared the transition to the second phase of production 
revolution occurs, which marks the flourishing of the new 
production principle. Now underdeveloped societies catch up with 
the production revolution and become more actively engaged in it. 
Thus, we confront a certain rhythm of the interchange of qualitative 
and quantitative aspects. A general scheme of two phases of 
production revolution within our theory looks as follows: 

Agrarian Revolution: the first phase - transition to primitive 
hoe agriculture and animal husbandry; the second phase - 
transition to intensive agriculture (especially to irrigation or non- 
irrigation plough one). 

Industrial Revolution: the first phase starts in the 15 th and 
16 th centuries with the vigorous development of seafaring and 
trade, mechanization on the basis of water engine, the deepening 
division of labor and other processes. The second phase is the in- 
dustrial breakthrough of the 1 8 th century and the first third of the 
19 th century which is connected with the introduction of various 
machines and steam energy. 

Information-Scientific Revolution: the first phase began in 
the 1940s and 1950s with breakthroughs in automation, power en- 
gineering, production of synthetic materials, but especially in the 
development of electronic means of control, communication and 
information. However, it appears possible to speak about its forth- 
coming second phase (see, e.g., Marahov 1984: 314; Grinin 
2003a) 9 which may start within a few decades. 

We believe that the production revolution can be regarded as 
an integral part (the first 'half) of the production principle. Thus, 
the overall cycle of the production principle can be represented in 
two phases: first is the production revolution which is followed by 
the development of mature relations. Such an approach demon- 
strates in a rather explicit way the main 'intrigue' of the cyclical 
pattern of historical formations. In their first half we observe 
mostly the radical production changes, whereas in the second half 

84 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

we deal with especially profound changes of political and social re- 
lations, public consciousness and other spheres. Within these peri- 
ods, on the one hand, political-judicial and sociocultural relations 
catch up with more developed production forces, and, on the other 
hand, they create a new level, from which an impulse toward the 
formation of a new production principle starts . 

However, a production principle cycle can be also represented 
in a classical three-phase fashion: formation, maturity, and decline. 
Yet, in some sense it appears more convenient to represent it in 6 
phases, each pair of which demonstrates an additional rhythm of 
change of qualitative and quantitative characteristics. Such a cycle 
looks as follows: 

1. The first phase - 'transitional'. It is connected with the be- 
ginning of the production revolution and the formation of a new 
production principle in one place, or a few places, however, in 
rather undeveloped and imperfect forms. 

2. The second phase - 'adolescence' - is connected with a 
wider diffusion of new production forms, with the strengthening 
and vigorous expansion of the new production principle. A new 
formation (or World System) appears. 

3. The third phase - 'florescence' - is connected with the sec- 
ond phase of the production revolution, as a result of which a basis 
for the mature forms of the production principle is developed. 

4. The fourth phase - 'maturity' - is connected with the diffu- 
sion of new technologies to most regions and production branches. 
The production principle acquires its classical forms. It is in this 
phase when particularly important changes start in non-production 
spheres as it was mentioned above. 

5. The fifth phase - 'high maturity' - leads to the intensifica- 
tion of production, the realization of its potential almost to the 
limit, after which crisis phenomena become to appear; that is, non- 
system (for the given production principle) elements begin to 

6. The sixth phase - 'preparatory'. Intensification grows, more 
and more non-system elements that prepare the formation of a new 
production principle emerge. However, they do not form a system 
yet. After this in some societies a transition to a new production 
principle can take place, and a new cycle begins. 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 85 

The correlation between phases of production principles and 
phases of production revolutions is spelled out in Figure 1. 

Let us consider now our chronology of the production princi- 
ples, production revolutions, and their phases. It starts from the pe- 
riod about 40,000-50,000 years ago (but to facilitate our calcula- 
tion we take the younger date of 40,000 years ago), that is, since 
the appearance of the first indisputable indications of truly human 
culture and society 11 . To understand the reason for the choice of 
precisely this landmark one should take into consideration that any 
periodization must have some conceptual and formal unity at its 
basis. In particular, we believe that it is possible to speak about a 
social evolution in its proper sense only since the time when social 
forces became the basic driving forces for the development of hu- 
man communities. We suppose that one should include in the era 
of anthropogenesis, not only that long period of time when our ape- 
like ancestors (Ingold 2002: 8) were gradually obtaining an ana- 
tomical resemblance to modern human beings (that is approxi- 
mately till 100-200 thousand years ago), but the subsequent rather 
long period (that lasted for many thousands of years) when those 
creatures anatomically similar to us were becoming Homo sapiens 
sapiens, that is becoming people in their intellectual, social, mental 
and language development. Of course, during this second phase of 
anthropogenesis the role of social forces in the general balance of 
driving forces was much larger than it was during the first phase. 
However, we believe that in general, during the whole process of 
anthropogenesis the driving forces were primarily biological, and 
only to a rather small degree were they social. Of course, it was a 
very long process and one cannot point out a definite point when a 
crucial change took place (as most likely in a literal sense there 
was not such a radical turn). Nevertheless we believe that after 
reaching the above-mentioned landmark of 40,000-50,000 years 
ago the social component of the evolutionary driving forces be- 
came dominant. We also believe that for these same reasons it is 
not possible to speak about humankind as a set of societies before 
this time. Thus, the notions that serve as a basis for our periodiza- 
tion - formations of historical process and production principles - 
cannot be applied to the periods prior to 40,000-50,000 years ago. 
Thus, our periodization starts with the most important production 
revolution for humankind; what is more, people themselves are, 
undoubtedly, part of the productive forces 12 . 

86 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

Due to the paucity of information on the first formation it ap- 
pears reasonable to connect the phases of the hunter-gatherer pro- 
duction principle with the qualitative landmarks of human adapta- 
tion to nature and its acquisition. Indeed, during this period com- 
munity size, tools, economic forms, lifestyles - that is, practically 
everything - depended almost exclusively on the natural environ- 
ment. If we correlate phases with major changes in environment, it 
appears possible to connect them with an absolute chronology on a 
panhuman scale. This appears especially justified, as in accordance 
with the proposed theory a part of the natural environment (within 
a theoretical model) should be included in the productive forces, 
and the more they are included, the weaker their technological 
component (see Grinin 2000, 2003a, 2006c). Such approaches have 
not been developed quite yet; but indications of such an approach 
appeared quite a long time ago (e.g., Kim 1981: 13; Danilova 
1981: 119; Anuchin 1982: 325; Kulpin 1990, 1996). 

The first phase may be connected with the 'Upper Paleolithic' 
Revolution and the formation of social productive forces (however 
primitive they were at that time). Already for this period more than 
100 types of tools are known (Boriskovskij 1980: 180). The sec- 
ond phase (approximately and very conventionally, 30,000-23,000 
[20,000] BP) led to the final overcoming of what may be called the 
residue contradiction of anthropogenesis: between biological and 
social regulators of human activities. This phase is connected with 
the wide diffusion of people, the settlement in new places, includ- 
ing the peopling of Siberia (Doluhanov 1979: 108) and, possibly, 
the New World (Zubov 1963: 50; Sergeeva 1983), though the dat- 
ings here are very scattered (Sergeeva 1983). 

The third phase lasted till 18,000 - 16,000 BP. This is the pe- 
riod of the maximum spread of glaciers (referred to as the glacial 
maximum) 13 . And though this was not the first glaciation, this time 
humans had a sufficient level of productive forces and sociality so 
that some groups managed to survive and even flourish within 
those severe conditions. Large changes took place with respect to 
variety and quantity of tools (Chubarov 1991: 94). This is precisely 
the time when there occurred a fast change of types of stone tools; 
for example, in France (Grigor'ev 1969: 213), in the Levant 
(18,000 BP) microliths appeared (Doluhanov 1979: 93). During 
this phase, as well as the subsequent fourth phase - c. 17,000- 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 87 

14,000 (18,000-15,000) BP - the level of adaptation to the chang- 
ing natural environment significantly increased. In some places 
that lacked glaciation, intensive gathering appeared (Hall 1986: 
201; Harlan 1986: 200). 

The fifth phase - 14,000-1 1,000 (15,000-12,000) BP, that is the 
end of the Paleolithic and the beginning of the Mesolithic (Fajnberg 
1986: 130) - may be connected with the end of glaciation and cli- 
mate warming (Jasamanov 1985: 202-204; Koronovskij, Jakushova 
1991: 404^106). As a result of this warming and consequent 
change in the landscape the number of large mammals decreased. 
That is why a transition to individual hunting was observed 
(Markov 1979: 51; Childe 1949: 40). Technical means (bows, 
spear-throwers, traps, nets, harpoons, new types of axes etc.) were 
developed for the support of autonomous reproduction of smaller 
groups and even individual families (Markov 1979: 51; Prido 
1979: 69; Avdusin 1989: 47). Fishing in rivers and lakes was de- 
veloped and acquired a major importance (Matjushin 1972). The 
sixth phase (c. 12,000-10,000 BP) was also connected with con- 
tinuing climatic warming, environmental changes culminating in 
the transition to the Holocene (see, e.g., Hotinskij 1989: 39, 43; 
Wymer 1982 [and archaeologically - to the Neolithic in connection 
with considerable progress in stone industries]). This period evi- 
denced a large number of important innovations that, in general, 
opened the way to the new, craft-agrarian, production principle 
(see, e.g., Mellaart 1975). Of special interest are harvest-gathering 
peoples who were a potentially more progressive development of 
the craft-agrarian branch. Such gathering can be very productive 
(see, e.g., Antonov 1982: 129; Shnirel'man 1989: 295-296; Lips 
1956; Lamberg-Karlovsky, Sabloff 1979). 

Whatever plants were cultivated, the independent invention of 
agriculture always took place in special natural environments (see, 
e.g., [Deopik 1977: 15] with respect to South-East Asia). Corre- 
spondingly, the development of cereal production could only take 
place in certain natural and climatic environments (Guljaev 1972: 
50-51; Shnirel'man 1989: 273; Mellaart 1982: 128; Harris and 
Hillman 1989; Masson 1967: 12; Lamberg-Karlovsky, Sabloff 
1979). It is supposed that the cultivation of cereals started some- 
where in the Near East: in the hills of Palestine (Mellaart 1975, 
1982), in the Upper Euphrates area (Alekseev 1984: 418; Hall 

88 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

1986: 202), or Egypt (Harlan 1986: 200). The beginning of the ag- 
ricultural revolution is dated within the interval 12,000 to 9,000 
BP, though in some cases the traces of the first cultivated plants or 
domesticated animals' bones are even of a more ancient age of 14- 
15 thousand years ago. Thus, in a rather conventional way it ap- 
pears possible to maintain that the first phase of the craft-agrarian 
production principle continued approximately within the interval 
from 10,500 to 7,500 BP (the 9 th -6 th millennia BCE). This period 
ends with the formation of the West Asian agricultural region, and 
on the whole one may speak about the formation of the World- 
System during this period, also including its first cities (about cities 
see Lamberg-Karlovsky, Sabloff 1979; Masson 1989). 

The second phase can be conventionally dated to 8000-5000 
BP (the 6 th - mid-late 4 th millennia BCE), that is up to the forma- 
tion of a unified state in Egypt and the development of a sophisti- 
cated irrigation economy in this country. It includes the formation 
of new agricultural centers, diffusion of domesticates from West 
Asia to other regions. The husbandry of sheep, goats and the first 
draught animals is developed. The active interchange of achieve- 
ments (domesticates and their varieties, technologies, etc.) is ob- 
served. During this period (starting from the 5 th millennium BCE) 
the first copper artifacts and tools appeared in Egypt and Mesopo- 
tamia (and a bit later in Syria) (Tylecote 1976: 9). According to 
Childe the so-called urban revolution took place at that time 
(Childe 1952, ch. 7; see also Lamberg-Karlovsky, Sabloff 1979; 
Masson 1989; Oppenheim 1968). 

During the third phase, 5000-3500 (5300-3700) BP, i.e. 
3000-1500 BCE agriculture starts; animal husbandry, crafts and 
trade are differentiated into separate branches of economy. 
Though, according to our theory, crafts did not determine the de- 
velopment of agricultural revolution, it appears necessary to note 
that, according to Chubarov's data at the end of the second phase 
and the beginning of the third a very wide diffusion of major inno- 
vations (wheel, plough, pottery wheel, harness [yoke], bronze met- 
allurgy, etc.) is observed (Chubarov 1991; see also about plough 
McNeill 1963: 24-25; on bronze metallurgy Tylecote 1979: 9). 
This was the period when the first states, and later empires, ap- 
peared in the Near East. Urbanization also went on encompassing 
new regions. This period ends with a major economic, agrotechni- 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 89 

cal, and craft upsurge in Egypt at the beginning of the New King- 
dom (Vinogradov 2000). 

The fourth phase (3500-2200 [3700-2500] BP, or 1500-200 
BCE) is the period when systems of intensive (including non- 
irrigation plough) agricultures formed in many parts of the world. 
We observe an unprecedented flourishing of crafts, cities, trade, 
formation of new civilizations and other processes that indicate 
that the new production principle began to approach its maturity. 
This phase lasts till the formation of new gigantic world states 
from Rome in the West till China in the East, which later led to 
major changes in productive forces and other social spheres. 

The fifth phase (the late 3 rd century BCE - early 9 th century 
CE) is the period of the most complete development of the produc- 
tive forces of the craft-agrarian economy, the period of flourishing 
and disintegration of the ancient civilizations and formation of 
civilizations of a new type (Arab, European etc.). 

The sixth phase (from the 9 th century till the first third of the 
15 th century). At its beginning one can see important changes in the 
production and other spheres in the Arab-Islamic world and China; 
in particular, in the second half of the 1 st century BC the wide in- 
ternational trade network from the East African Coast to South- 
East Asia and China developed in the Indian Ocean basin (Bentley 
1996). Then we observe the beginning of urban and economic 
growth in Europe, which finally creates first centers of industry 
and preconditions for industrial revolution. 

The first phase of the industrial revolution (and, respectively, 
the first phase of the industrial production principle) may be dated 
to the period lasting from the second third of the 15 th century to the 
late 16 th century 14 . Included in this phase are those types of activi- 
ties that were both more open to innovation and capable of accu- 
mulating more surplus (trade [Mantu 1937: 61-62; Bernal 1965] 
and colonial activities [Baks 1986], which had become more and 
more interwoven since the 16 th century) came to the forefront. Be- 
sides, at that time, primitive industries (but still industries) devel- 
oped in certain fields. It is during this period when according to 
Wallerstein(1974, 1980, 1988; 1987) the capitalist world-economy 
was formed. 

From the late 1 6 th century to the first third of the 1 8 th century 
there lasted thesecond phase (adolescence) of the new production 

90 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

principle, a period of growth and development of new sectors that 
had become dominant in some countries (the Netherlands and 

The third phase of the industrial production principle began in 
the second third of the 1 8 th century in England. It meant the begin- 
ning of the second phase of the industrial revolution that led to the 
development of the machine-based industries and the transition to 
steam energy. Supplanting handwork with machines took place in 
cotton textile production that developed in England (Mantu 1937: 
184). Watt's steam engine started to be used in the 1760s and 
1770s. A new powerful industry - machine production - had de- 
veloped. The industrial breakthrough was more or less finalized in 
England in the 1830s. The successes of industrialization were evi- 
dent in a number of countries by that time and it was also accom- 
panied by significant demographic transformations (Armengaud 
1976; Minghinton 1976: 85-89). 

The fourth phase (from the 1830s to the late 19 th century) is 
the period of the victory of machine production and its powerful 
diffusion. The fifth phase took place in the late 1 9 th century - the 
early 20 th century up to the world economic crisis of the late 
1920s-1930s. During that period there occurred huge changes. The 
chemical industries experienced vigorous development, a break- 
through was observed in steel production, the extensive use of 
electricity (together with oil) gradually began to replace coal. Elec- 
trical engines changed both the factories and everyday life. Devel- 
opment of the internal combustion engines led to the wide diffu- 
sion of automobiles. The sixth phase continued till the mid 20 th 
century. A vigorous intensification of production and the introduc- 
tion of scientific methods of its organization took place during this 
period. There was an unprecedented development of standardiza- 
tion and the enlargement of production units. Signs of the forth- 
coming information-scientific revolution became more and more 

The production revolution that began in the 1940s and 1950s 
and continues up to the present is sometimes called the 'scientific- 
technical' revolution (e.g., Benson and Lloyd 1983). However, it 
would be more appropriate to call it the 'information-scientific' 
revolution, as it is connected with the transition to scientific meth- 
ods of production and circulation management. Especially impor- 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 91 

tant changes have taken place in information technologies. In addi- 
tion, this production revolution had a few other directions: in en- 
ergy technologies, in synthetic materials production, automation, 
space exploration, and agriculture. However, its main results are 
still forthcoming. 

The information-scientific production principle (and the fourth 
formation in general) is only at its beginning; only its first phase 
has been finished and the second phase has just started. Hence, all 
the calculations of the forthcoming phases' lengths are highly hy- 
pothetical. These calculations are presented in Tables 1 and 2. 

The first phase of the information-scientific production princi- 
ple took place between the 1950s and mid 1990s, when a vigorous 
development of information technologies and the start of real eco- 
nomic globalization were observed. The second phase began in the 
mid 1990s in conjunction with the development and wide diffusion 
of user- friendly computers, communication technologies and so on. 
It continues up to the present. 

The third phase may begin approximately in the 2030s - 
2040s. It will mean the beginning of the second phase of the in- 
formation-scientific revolution that in our view may become a 
'control system' revolution, that is, the vast expansion of abilities 
to purposefully influence and direct various natural and production 
processes (see Grinin 2000, 2003a, 2006a). Judging by the recent 
scientific, biotechnological and medical inventions (in particular, 
within nanotechnologies), the second phase of this revolution may 
start with changing human biological nature. There is a great num- 
ber of various suppositions concerning changes of that kind, they are 
dealt with by intellectuals in different fields starting from philoso- 
phers to fantasists (see e.g., Fukuyama 2002; Sterling 2005). 

For the expected lengths of the fourth, fifth, and sixth phases 
of the information-scientific production principle see Table 1. In 
general, it may end by the end of this century, or by the beginning 
of the next one. This implies an immense acceleration of develop- 
ment that can be hardly compatible with the biopsychic human na- 
ture. Indeed, in view of the growing life expectancies all the im- 
mense changes (the 2040s to 2090s) will happen within the span of 
one generation that will appear in the 2010s. The significance of 
these changes will be no smaller (what is more, it is likely to be 

92 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

greater) than the significance of the ones that took place between 
1830 and 1950 that included gigantic technological transforma- 
tions, the transition from agricultural to industrial society, social 
catastrophes and world wars. However, these metamorphoses took 
place within 120 years, whereas the expected period of the forth- 
coming transformation is twice as short. And if they occur within a 
lifespan of one generation, it is not clear whether human physical 
and psychic capabilities will be sufficient to stand this; what price 
will be paid for such a fast adaptation? Thus, we confront the fol- 
lowing question: how could the gap between the development of 
productive forces and other spheres of life be compensated? 5 

Now we can start our mathematical analysis of the proposed 
periodization. Mathematical methods are quite widely used in his- 
torical research, but, unfortunately, mathematical studies of histori- 
cal periodization are very few indeed 16 . In the meantime the dis- 
covery of mathematical regularities within an existing periodiza- 
tion may serve as a confirmation of its productivity and as a basis 
for tentative forecasts. Time as a parameter of historical develop- 
ment is quite suitable for mathematical analysis, for example, eco- 
nomic and demographic historians study actively temporal cycles 
of various lengths 17 . Cycles used as a basis for this periodization 
are not different in any principal way from the other temporal cy- 
cles with regard to the possibility of being subject to mathematical 

Table 1 ('Chronology of Production Principle Phases') pre- 
sents dates for all the phases of all the production principles. How- 
ever, it should be taken into account that in order to make chronol- 
ogy tractable all the dates are approximated even more than the 
ones used in the text above. Table 2 ('Production Principles and 
Their Phase Lengths') presents the absolute lengths of the phases 
in thousands of years. Table 3 ('Ratio of Each Phase [and Phase 
Combination] Length to the Total Length of Respective Production 
Principle [%%]') presents results of our calculations of the ratio of 
each phase's length to the length of the respective production prin- 
ciple using a rather simple methodology 18 . Table 4 ('Comparison 
of Phase Length Ratios for Each Production Principle [%%]') em- 
ploys an analogous methodology to compare lengths of phases 
(and combinations of phases) within one production principle. For 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 93 

example, for the hunter-gatherer production principle the ratio of 
the first phase length (10,000 years) to the second (8,000 years) 
equals 125 %; whereas the ratio of the second phase to the third 
(5,000 years) is 160 %. In the meantime the ratio of the sum of the 
first and the second phases' lengths to the sum of the third and the 
fourth (3,000 years) phases equals 225 %. Tables 3 and 4 also pre- 
sent the average rates for all the production principles. 

Thus, the proposed periodization is based on the idea of recur- 
rent developmental cycles (each of them includes six phases); 
however, each subsequent cycle is shorter than the previous one 
due to the acceleration of historical development. No doubt that 
these are recurrent cycles, because within each cycle in some re- 
spect development follows the same pattern: every phase within 
every cycle plays a functionally similar role; what is more, the pro- 
portions of the lengths of the phases and their combinations remain 
approximately the same (see Tables 3 and 4). All this is convinc- 
ingly supported by the above mentioned calculations, according to 
which with the change of production principles stable proportions 
of the lengths of phases and their combinations remain intact. 

In general, our mathematical analysis represented in diagrams 
and tables below indicates the following points: a) evolution of 
each production principle in time has recurrent features, as is seen 
in Diagrams 1-4; b) there are stable mathematical proportions be- 
tween lengths of phases and phase combinations within each pro- 
duction principle (Tables 3 and 4); c) the cycle analysis clearly in- 
dicates that the development speed increases sharply just as a result 
of production revolutions (see Diagram 5); d) if we calibrate the Y- 
axis of the diagram 19 , the curve of historical process acquires a hy- 
perbolic (Diagram 6) rather than exponential shape (as in Diagrams 
1-4), which indicates that we are dealing here with a blow-up re- 
gime (Kapitza, Kurdjumov, and Malinetskij 1997). 

The analysis of stable proportions of production principle cy- 
cles makes it possible to propose some tentative forecasts (in par- 
ticular, with respect to the lengths of the remaining phases of the 
fourth production principle) 20 . 

And the last comment. The historical process curve (see Dia- 
gram 6) might look a bit embarrassing, as it goes to infinity within 
a finite period of time. In this respect Diakonoff (1999: 348) notes 
the following: 

94 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

As applied to history, the notion [of infinity] seems to 
make no sense: the succession of Phases, their develop- 
ment ever more rapid, cannot end in changes taking place 
every year, month, week, day, hour or second. To avoid a 
catastrophic outcome - let us hope that wise Homo 
Sapiens will find a way - then we have to anticipate in- 
tervention from as yet unknown forces. 

However, it should be taken into account that the diagram de- 
picts the development of just one variable of the historical proc- 
ess - the technological one, whereas the high correlation between 
general development and technological development is observed 
within certain limits. Outside these limits various deviations (both 
with respect to the development vectors and its speed) are possible. 
First of all, it is quite evident that the general development of the 
system does not catch up with the technological one; secondly, the 
growing gap implies that the price for progress will grow too. In 
other words, uncontrolled scientific-technological and economic 
changes lead to the growth of various deformations, crisis phenom- 
ena in various spheres of life, which slows down the overall 
movement and in many respects changes its direction. Actually, if 
the system persists, the overall speed of its development cannot ex- 
ceed the speed of the least dynamic (most conservative) element 
(for example, ethnic, or religious-ideological consciousness, or 
morals) whose change needs the change of generations. The 
growth of the system gaps in connection with changing economic, 
information, and technological realities can lead to its breakdown 
and its replacement with another system. And the price paid for 
such a rapid transformation of such an immensely complex system 
as modern humankind may be very high indeed. 


* This paper is based on a presentation at the Third General Scholarly Meeting 
of the Society for Anthropological Sciences (SASci). San Antonio, Texas. February 21- 

However, even the very notion of 'world history' and 'universal history', 
though it is recognized as an important concept by a number of scholars (e.g., 
Ghosh 1964; Pomper 1995; Geyer and Bright 1995; Manning 1996), it had been 
considered as a rather useless concept for a long time by historians and social sci- 
entists, and even now it is not recognized by many of them (see Pomper 1995; 
Geyer and Bright 1995). But what is the most important is that 'while historians 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 95 

increasingly recognize the importance of world history, they remain relatively ig- 
norant about it as a developing field' (Pomper 1995: 1). 

These attempts have a long history. For example, Miljukov (1993 [1937]: 
43-47) declared the world historical view obsolete and insisted that the natural 
unit of scientific observation is nothing else but a 'national organism'. 

Generally speaking, this point is especially important methodologically, as 
it accounts for the cyclical nature of the 'unfolding' of the above mentioned 
stages/formations. The development of some spheres inevitably leads to the ac- 
cumulation of changes in the other spheres till a radical transformation occurs 
within them that leads to the accumulation of non-system incongruences in the 
former. Thus, causes and effects constantly interchange their places, that is why it 
turns out to be impossible to speak about any absolutely dominant spheres; it ap- 
pears more productive to consider some spheres as relatively dominant. 

This notion is not identical with the Marxist 'mode of production', because 
firstly, 'mode of production' includes both the productive forces and the relations 
of production, whereas its change is connected with the change in the property re- 
lationships. The 'production principle' only characterizes the changes in produc- 
tion and is connected with production revolutions. Secondly, the mode of produc- 
tion notion can be applied both to separate societies and to the historical process, 
whereas the production principle is a category that only describes the world pro- 
duction forces (for more detail see Grinin 2003a: 30-47). 

Of course, we do not mean continuous and regular influence; we rather 
mean the moments of qualitative breakthrough. If after a breakthrough within a 
more fundamental sphere the other spheres do not catch up with it, the develop- 
ment within the former pauses. 

6 Sergey Malkov (2006) shows what changes take place in societies with the 
change of each production principle and develops mathematical models describing 
the functioning of a typical society for each production principle (except the in- 
formation-scientific one). These models suggest that the change in our periodiza- 
tion basis, the production principle, does lead to a total change of all the main so- 
cietal characteristics and to the humankind transition to a qualitatively new devel- 
opment stage (see also Malkov 2004, 2005). 

7 E.g., by Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883). See Toynbee 1927 [1884]; 1956 

8 It is worthy to take note that each phase of production revolution distinctly 
changes modes of energy production, distribution, and consumption and diffuses 
such new modes. It was Leslie White (1949, 1959) who pointed out to a certain 
evolutionary sequence in the changes of energy sources of the human societies. 

The possibility of the new phase of this revolution was already discussed by 
Volkov (1965, 1967: 391; 1968, 1976), who called it the 'second industrial revo- 
lution', though he imagined the development of this revolution in a rather one- 
sided (and in some respects even primitive) way, as the development of full auto- 
mation without paying attention to its information technology aspects. See also 
Sylvester and Klotz 1983. 

10 Such a cyclical pattern accounts for a number of historical phenomena - 
for example, some slowdown of the production innovation rate in the last centu- 

96 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

ries BCE and the 1 st millennium CE. This was a period when the most part of the 
creative energy was dissipated in order to enhance the military-political and so- 
ciocultural aspects of social life, as the material basis for this had already been 

Note that this date is not identical with the modern datings of the emer- 
gence of Homo sapiens sapiens (100,000-200,000 years ago). Though discoveries 
of the recent decades have pushed the date of the Homo sapiens sapiens formation 
back in time to 100-200 thousand years ago (see, e.g., Stringer 1990; Bar-Yosef 
and Vandermeersch 1993; Paabo 1995; Gibbons 1997; Holden 1998; Culotta 
1999; Kaufman 1999; Lambert 1991; Zhdanko 1999; Klima 2003: 206; White at 
al. 2003), the landmark of 40,000-50,000 years ago still retains its major signifi- 
cance. This is that time, since which we can definitely speak about humans of the 
modern cultural type, in particular, about the presence of developed languages and 
'distinctly human' culture (Bar-Yosef and Vandermeersch 1993: 94). And though 
there are suggestions that developed languages appeared well before 40-50 thou- 
sand years ago, these suggestions remain rather hypothetical. Most researchers 
suppose that the dependence on language did not appear until 40,000 years ago 
(see Holden 1998: 1455), whereas, as Richard Klein maintains, 'everybody would 
accept that 40,000 years ago language is everywhere' (see Holden 1998: 1455). 
Richard Klein, a paleoanthropologist at Stanford University, has offered a theory 
which could explain such a gap between the origin of anatomically modern Homo 
sapiens and much later emergence of language and cultural artifacts: The modern 
mind is the result of a rapid genetic change. He puts the date of change at around 
50, 000 years ago, pointing out that the rise of cultural artifacts comes after that 
date, as does the spread of modern humans from Africa (see Zimmer 2003: 41 ff). 
So the period 50,000-40,000 yeas ago was the time from which social forces be- 
came the main driving force of human development; from this time it appears 
possible to speak about real social evolution. 

Or using the title of Paul Mellars and Chris Stringer's book such a radical 
turn can be called 'The Human Revolution' (see Mellars and Stringer 1989). 

During the last glacial epoch, Wurm III. The glacial maximum was ob- 
served about 20000-17000 BP when temperatures dropped by 5 degrees 
(Velichko 1989: 13-15). 

The point of view that, besides the 18' century industrial revolution, there 
was also an earlier industrial revolution (or even industrial revolutions) is widely 
accepted in Western science (Bernal 1965; Braudel 1973, 1982, 1985; Hill 1947; 
Johnson 1955, etc.), but within Russia it does not have many advocates (however, 
see Islamov and Frejdzon 1986: 84; Gurevich 1969: 68; Dmitriev 1992: 140-141). 

Besides one should take into account the point that precisely this genera- 
tion will have the 'control packet' of votes during elections (taking into account 
the fertility decline that is likely to continue throughout this century), and it is not 
clear if this generation will be able to react adequately to the rapidly changing 
situation. On the acceleration of historical time and the necessity of stabilization 
see Grinin 1998a; see also Diakonoff 1999: 348; Kapitza 2004a, 2004b, 2006; 
Korotayev, Malkov, and Khaltourina 2006a, 2006b. Yet, there also exist tenden- 
cies to slowing down this development. S. Tsirel (2007) pays attention to one of 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 97 

them. He points out that 'ordinary' time (i.e. everyday, common tempos and 
rhythm within the limits of usual human existence) starts to hamper historical 
changes, because it is hard for people to break themselves of the habit of what 
they got accustomed to in childhood and youth, they deliberately or unconsciously 
resist changes in various ways. Actually one may completely agree that this sound 
conservatism is able to prevent acceleration. However, will such a tendency of 
hampering be powerful enough? There is much doubt about it. 

It appears reasonable to mention here works of Chuchin-Rusov (2002) and 
Kapitza (2004b, 2006). Some ideas about the detection of mathematical regulari- 
ties were expressed by Igor Diakonoff In particular, he wrote the following: 

There is no doubt that the historical process shows symp- 
toms of exponential acceleration. From the emergence of Homo 
Sapiens to the end of Phase I, no less than 30,000 years passed; 
Phase II lasted about 7,000 years; Phase III about 2,000, Phase 
IV, 1,500, Phase V, about 1,000, Phase VI, about 300 years, Phase 
VII, just over 100 years; the duration of Phase VIII cannot yet be 
ascertained. If we draw up a graph, these Phases show a curve of 
negative exponential development (Diakonoff 1999: 348). 

However, Diakonoff did not publish the graph itself. Snooks suggests a dia- 
gram called 'The Great Steps of Human Progress' (1996: 403; 1998: 208; 2002: 
53), which in some sense can be considered as a sort of historical periodization, 
but this is rather an illustrative scheme for teaching purposes without any explicit 
mathematical apparatus behind it. 

In general many historical processes may be represented as regular cyclical 
rhythms of the functioning of economical, social and other human structures. 
Such ideas were developed, for example, by Braudel (1977). It is especially worth 
pointing here at historical demographical and also economic cycles, among which 
the most famous are so-called Kondratiev's ones (for the references on these and 
other cycles see Grinin, Korotayev 2007). 

The absolute length of a phase (or a sum of the lengths of two or three 
phases) is divided by the full length of the respective production principle. For ex- 
ample, if the length of the hunter-gatherer production principle is 30,000 years, 
the length of its first phase is 10,000, the one of the second is 8,000, the duration 
of the third is 5,000, then the ratio of the first phase length to the total production 
principle length will be 33,3 %; the ratio of the sum of the first and the second 
phases' lengths to the total production principle length will be 60 %; and the ratio 
of the sum of the first, the second, and the third phases' lengths to the total produc- 
tion principle length will be 76,7 %. 

Within the calibrated scale the changes from one principle of production to 
another are considered as changes by an order of magnitude, whereas changes 
within a principle of production are regarded as changes by units within the re- 
spective order of magnitude. Such a calibration appears highly justified, as it does 
not appear reasonable to lay off the same value at the same scale both for the tran- 
sition from one principle of production to another (for example, for the Agrarian 
Revolution), and for a change within one principle of production (e.g., for the de- 
velopment of specialized intensive gathering). Indeed, for example, the former 

98 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

shift increased the carrying capacity of the Earth by 1-2 orders of magnitude, 
whereas the letter led to the increase of carrying capacity by 2-3 times at best. 

It appears that mathematical analysis of these internal cycles of the histori- 
cal process formations (that is the recurrence of evolution pattern within each cy- 
cle) has not yet been done and is performed for the first time in the present article 
(see also Grinin 2006a). 


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Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 113 







Name? of production 
principle phase? 

( 1 (transitional) 
2 (adolescence) 

3 (florescence) 

4 (maturity) 

5 (high 

* (preparatory) 

1 (transitional) 

2 (adolescence) 


4 (maturity) 

* (hicih 

^ (preparatory) 

VKMiti<oit H il phase 





1st qualitative 


2nd qualitative 


Fig. 1. Correlation between Phases of Production Principles and 

Phases of Production Revolutions 

/ / / / - temporal volume of production revolution 
borders between production principles 


Social Evolution & History / September 2007 





3 I S 

a. I 
.2 **" 


o ■- 
O 01 


u ra 








Overall for 


8000 BCE) 

10 000-570 
(8000 BCE- 
1430 CE) 

— o 

(2090) [fore- 
0.135-0. 160 


11 500-10 






g LU \S 
OO O o 


ci. V 

— o 




(12 000-9500 

(200 BCE-800 



— e 















17000-14 000 
(15 000-12 000 





oo '-; 

— o 





(20 000-15 000 






<^ — 

t> . 
— o 













o J2 

_ o 




40 000-30000 
(38 000-28 000 




— o 



.=> -a; 
if a 



= n 

- O 

2. Craft- 




4. Information- 













1 1 








■ — 


























































Ct— i 







































Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 115 

Table 2 

Production Principles and Their Phase Lengths 
(in thousands of years) 


1 st 


3 rd 

4 th 


6 th 

for pro- 

1. Hunter- 








2. Craft- 








3. Industrial 








4. Information- 








* This line indicates our estimates of the expected lengths of the 
Information-Scientific production principle phases 


Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

s a 
.2 ,a 

G *~ 


H> o 

En t- 

CO ft. 

*^ ** 

a, s; 


C3 J 

in <u 

■3 -S 

O -J 

-S g 




















„ so 

55 e. 


^Q 1 <0 




^ — \ 


^ s 





«1 1 — 




2S - 

<N I fSI 



tN *3 









J J* 







-S .Si 

. 'o 







































■S o 





i § 

3 -a 

(B E 

G H= 

.£ S 

•e 3 
*- 1.® 




# *s * & 

i § 

a, *s 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 117 







^ vg" 

+ + 

_ r— 

IN u-i 



■ m 


+ + 




m » 


r~i ?» 




in rM 


~w <L 




fM w 





^vS 1 




+ + 






ro sr> 











fN" ^ 




+ + 




© bo 


S* f^i 




r- ™ 


^ ^1 


■ — 

1 — ' 

^ *-^ 

»— . 








© § 





in Z. 




' — ' 

1 — 

■ — ' ^- ^ 

— i 

m £, 






m S 





r^i .-. 



1 — ' 


*— • 

■ — i \^ 














i — i 


*n Z! 



1 — ■ 

1 — I 


^-i ■*_, 



en o 











m Z- 



- ' 

1 — ' 

■ — ' 

*— ■ ^_^ 

" — 









CM 2 



T « 


~—> t , 



i — i 




? ■¥ 

n~ b 


2. Craft- 





cm td 
- u 

S "* 

H 9 

118 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

Diagram 1. Hunter-Gatherer Production Principle 

(8000 BCE) 

Phase VI 


Phase V 


Phase IV 

f 14000 

Phase III 

^/^ 17000 

Phase II 


^ (20000 BCE) 

Phase 1 

^^„ "" * 30000 

(38000 BCE) 

4200 4000 3800 3600 3400 3200 3000 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 8000 6000 
years BP 00000000000000000 
(BCE.) (38000) (28000) (20000) (14000)(12000) (8000) (4000) 

Diagram 2 . Craft-Agrarian Production Principle 

Grinin / Production Revolutions and Periodization of History 1 19 

Diagram 3. Industrial Production Principle 

1400 1430 1460 1490 1520 1550 1580 1610 1640 1670 1700 1730 1760 1790 1820 1850 1880 1910 1940 1970 2000 

Diagram 4. Information-Scientific Production Principle 





/ / 

2070* ^f 
/ ^^ 2090 
2055, ^ ^^r 

™ 2105 

^~^^^^ 2070 

2030 y ^^^^ 


^^5^^ 204 ° 

__ _^^^ 2000 

1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100 2110 2120 2130 

Note: the broken line indictates the forecast version for the expected development of the 
information- scientific production principle corresponding to dates in brackets in the 5th line 
of Table 1. 

120 Social Evolution & History / September 2007 

Diagram 5. Evolution of Historical Process in Time 


Formation IV 

(information-scientific production 

2090 i 
2070 i 

204q , 
2005j . 

20or, | 

Formation III 

(industrial production principle) 

10 2 si 


Formation II 

(craft-agrarian production 




Formation I 

(hunter-gatherer production 

38000 BCE 
(40000 BP| 









Diagram 6. Hyperbolic Model of Historical Process Dynamics 

2000 i 






2000 CE ' 




1955 CE 






400 ■ 



38 000 

8 °°°1430CS